I had the privilege of attending the Potentialpark 2013 Online Talent Communication Awards, hosted at the L’Oreal Matrix Academy. Companies were judged on career website, online application process, social networking communication and mobile communication. Top 3 company honorees based on all of the criteria were Accenture, General Motors, and Ernst & Young, in that order. Potentialpark shared its findings from surveying thousands of job seekers and reviewing hundreds of websites. While this was an event aimed at sharing insights amongst the hiring companies, I noticed key takeaways for job seekers as well. Here are 5 of my favorite insights from the event:
1) Branding is a challenge given that a profile is made up of many different elements
On the company side, L’Oreal shared insights into how it conveys a global recruiting message across 26 diverse brands and how challenging this can be. So it is with job seekers: how do you convey diverse skills, industry expertise, personality traits and many times, multiple simultaneous projects into one comprehensive and cohesive online profile?
2) Live experience influences the brand, and vice versa
A candidate’s experience when gathering information, applying, and then making decisions is informed by how he or she feels about the brand. But the feelings toward the brand are similarly impacted by the actual experience. So a company should mind both the subjective pull of the brand and the tactile activities. So it is with job seekers: how do you develop and maintain a personal brand that engenders good will, respect and credibility but also deliver on the in-person experiences during interviews, networking meetings and negotiations?
3) Personalization is critical
Potentialpark found that job seekers liked companies who gave personalized career guidance – almost a “matching” service between candidate to job. I have found that recruiters and hiring managers want personalization as well from job seekers: why do you want this job? Why do you want this company? Why are you the perfect match to this role (i.e., solution to my problem)?
4) Speed is critical
Another criteria held in high regard by job seekers is speed in the information gathering, application and decision-making stage. So it is with recruiters: job seekers need to know about jobs before they are posted, need to respond to scheduling and information requests almost in real-time, and need to decide quickly. If you’re looking for a job, how quickly do you pinpoint your target company’s issues? How quickly do you respond and make meetings happen?
5) Presence must be felt across multiple platforms
Job seekers expect companies to have multiple platforms – website, various social networks, presence within professional communities. Similarly, companies recruit across multiple platforms. If you’re a job seeker, are you everywhere you need to be? Do you have a robust online presence? Are you active in social networks and live professional associations?
If it’s any consolation to job seekers, the job search is tough on companies looking to recruit. They also have a lot of work around keeping up with online tools and social networking. It was fascinating to see how company challenges parallel job seeker challenges. Perhaps this shared experience can bring more empathy to the process on both sides.